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The digital age has meant documents are no longer created and kept on paper. However, it has also meant document management problems have only increased, with multiple versions of documents easily created and spread across the enterprise. That also increases security risks.

So it’s no surprise that a survey of more than 100 U.S. IT managers and 250 full-time employees by Accusoft Corp., which makes document viewing, advanced search and image compression tools, found a lot of employees unhappy with their company’s file management processes and tools.

Seventy-four percent of IT managers said their firms have a formalized document management solution. But almost one quarter (23 percent) of employees complained about the need to keep track of too many versions, while 21 per cent said they had to download and save too many documents. One fifth of employees said documents are too difficult to access from mobile devices, and 19 per cent said documents from outside the office is a source of frustration.

Only 39 percent of IT managers report that their document management system possesses mobile device management (MDM) capabilities, which the report’s authors say suggests “most IT departments are left in the dark during at least one stage of the document lifecycle process.”

“Significantly,” the report adds, “a fifth of all employees don’t know how their company shares and collaborates within documents. Beyond a training deficiency, this represents a major risk to organizations; unaware employees are likely to resort to their own solutions, which can cause a breakdown in the document lifecycle process. In worst-case scenarios, employees may be encouraged to engage in shadow IT by adopting consumer-grade tools without the knowledge or approval of their IT department.”

The report says 92 per cent of firms have an official document management policy, but 43 per cent of IT managers report that employees don’t always comply with document-handling procedures. “Rather than stubborn resistance, this appears to be a training and internal communication issue.” says the report. While 89 per cent of enterprises train employees on document management practices, it adds, only a third provide security training, and only a quarter train employees specifically on document processes.

“Even the best solutions can’t fix internal knowledge and communication gaps.” says the report. “Businesses must ensure staff are both aware of content management tools as well as regularly trained on their proper use.”

Secure, robust content management depends on both technology and people, the report says. “Aside from rolling out advanced tools, organizations must also renew their focus on policy communication and training. Even the best-equipped enterprise will likely struggle with document management if employees are unaware of the tools and processes in place. Training once during onboarding isn’t enough; staff should receive ongoing training to ensure that procedures are widely known, understood, and followed.”

Read the full report here. Registration is required.

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